Immediate release: 22nd May 2020
FOSTERING PAN-AFRICANISM AND INCLUSIVITY DURING COVID-19 AND LOCKDOWN PERIOD
On this day, 25 May, in 1963, Africa made history with the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU – now known as the African Union (AU). This day is intended to celebrate African unity and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the peoples and governments of Africa over 55 years ago to decolonize the continent and pave way for a greater economical emancipation for Africa, while reflecting on the common challenges that the continent face in a global environment. In Africa, the month of May is dedicated to building a caring African nation, in pursuit of promoting lasting peace and prosperity in the continent and the rest of the world. Hence this year’s theme is “Silencing the Guns, creating a conducive environment for Africa’s development”. This theme is aligned with the African Union Year 2020 theme in line with the vision in AU Agenda 2063 and 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This theme, underpinned by the Covid-19 global pandemic, calls for a more united Africa now more than ever before.
This year’s Africa Day comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen and created further divisions amongst nations in Africa and the rest of the world while instilling fear for the future social and economic development. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited Africa as whole to recognise and showcase African cultural diversity and its unity that coordinates and intensifies African cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa. As we commemorate and celebrate Africa Day, CoRMSA has noted with concern, during this Africa Month, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the grave injustices, discrimination, social and economic exclusion of vulnerable groups in South Africa and the rest of the continent.This has included refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, women and children on the move, particularly those coming from other African countries. It is disheartening that a number of these vulnerable groups are being excluded from accessing COVID-19 and lockdown impact relief measures, such as food, health services and economic relief measures that have been implemented by the South African and other countries’ governments. COVID-19 does not discriminate nor exclude, everyone is equally at risk of contracting the virus. Therefore, arbitrary qualifiers such as nationality, documentation status, race or gender cannot be indicators for eligibility for these relief measures.
In March 2020, the outgoing AU Chair H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, called upon on all warring parties, to immediately stop fighting and engage in lasting ceasefire to give a chance to peace-making efforts. The outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic, which is killing thousands of people and weakening economies across the globe, is a call on all nations to do their utmost to defeat this pandemic. Now, it is the time for South Africa, as the current chair of the African Union (AU), through the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, to lead by example and urge other African leaders, relevant authorities and communities across the continent to facilitate, coordinate, celebrate and reflect on African strategies of the past, present and future that will inspire and strengthen the African continent in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic together. To facilitate innovation to accelerate a forward looking AU Agenda 2063 and 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. Notable, is the relevece of Pan-Africanism, it is founded on the belief that African unity is important to economic, social and political progress that aims to ‘unify and uplift’ people of African descent, as well as establish a solid foundation of a sustained Pan African movement that forges unity and solidarity.
CoRMSA re-affirms that all African migrants are equal in humanity and should not be excluded and discriminated based on their nationality and documentation status. COVID-19 cannot be used as a justification for exclusionary measures but rather as a means to promote unity and solidarity among Africans. On Africa Day, the philosophy of Ubuntu – is critical for strengthening African solidarity at a time when it is more significant than ever before.
For further information or comment please contact: